REVIEW / The Sacred Tears TRUE (PC)

 

If you have been itching to play a classic RPG but haven’t found one, your search is over. The Sacred Tears TRUE offers hours of nostalgic adventuring that can only be found in a traditional, top-down role playing game.  Originally released in Japan, The Sacred Tears TRUE offers something for everyone in forms of gameplay and enjoyment. Focusing on the escapades of two young thieves, Seil and Seana, throughout the game you complete jobs for your private investigation agency, Millionaire, by day and perform missions for the local Thieves Guild by night.

 

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Seil and Seana, partners in crime

 

Seil is an inexperienced, happy-go-lucky thief who has big dreams for himself. He talks a tough game but cannot always back it up. He goes by “Shadow Knight” within the Thieves Guild and performs flashy, often unnecessary gestures (such as leaving a calling card at the scene of a crime), in order to promote his status and renown. However, good intentions aside, Seil frequently blunders stuff up on jobs. In fact, in the first crime you witness him commit, he tosses a fake version of the item he just stole off the roof of a building to deter any guards pursuing him and Seana. Unfortunately, he mistakenly threw the real version off the roof instead.

Seana is Seil’s literal partner in crime. She works with him at their P.I. firm and steals with him at night. She’s cautious, keeps him in check and is definitely the more level headed of the pair. Seana is also Seil’s biggest motivator. She wants him to achieve his dreams and supports him in her own ways. Something interesting about her in comparison to Seil is that she uses magic. A thief using magic goes against the traditional image of a thief, who typically use one-handed swords and daggers in combat (like Seil).

 

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In terms of gameplay, The Sacred Tears TRUE plays out, as I said earlier, like a traditional, old-school RPG. You are looking top-down at your characters, move and control them by using Up, Down, Left, Right and interact with things by moving in front of them. However, the game itself is more than a nostalgic walk down videogame lane. The Sacred Tears TRUE comes loaded with 48 different chapters to play, 24 are part of the main storyline and the other 24 are side quests. Each chapter also plays out individually. What that means is that a door that might have been locked or an area that was inaccessible in previous chapters, may not stay that way in future chapters. The chapters can take a while to complete too. Every chapter can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on how much you explore and grind to gain experience

Speaking of grinding experience, The Sacred Tears TRUE has a very fun combat system and easy to use leveling up process. The game uses a card-based combat system. You have four cards: Sword Attack, Use Magic, Defend and Evade/Counter. Each card has a different strength level as well. You select three cards every round of the fight in any order. Your opponent does the same. Once you select your cards, they get revealed one at a time. If your card was stronger than that of your opponents, it is a successful hit, spell cast, block or evade/counter. If the strengths were tied, they cancel each other out and if your card was lower than your opponents, they get a successful hit, block, etc. While it sounds simple, there IS a level of predictability and luck involved. See the combat system in action below:

 

 

After combat is over, you get experience, possibly an item and may level-up. Leveling-up couldn’t be easier in The Sacred Tears TRUE. You get stat points for Seil to level up his HP, Strength, Defense and Evasion. Seana gets stat points in order to level up her Magic and Judgement. The characters also have abilities that need to be unlocked via technique books. Seil’s technique books level up his special sword attacks and can possibly teach him more. Seana’s technique books allow her to level her various forms of offense and support magic

The graphics and audio in The Sacred Tears TRUE are vibrant, fun, easy on the eyes and ears. The amount of detail put into just the screenshot above is impeccable. From the tiny stone tiles on the ground to the scripted words on the bulletin. Each location has suitable background music that fits the mood of the location you are in. In games like these, the littlest things can often be the nicest touches. I  really appreciate the work put into designing this game. My only real complaints are the lack of tutorial and the AI of Seana in combat. I had no idea how to level-up until I decided to hit ESC and click on the status screen. I figured it out from there but had already leveled five times before I ever put a stat point into Seil or Seana. I wouldn’t have known to much about the combat system either if I hadn’t decided to talk to this one NPC. Being an experienced RPG player aside, I would still like to be properly instructed when starting a new game.

 

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Seana is another story. She uses magic to fight enemies and support Seil in combat. Several times however, I died because she chose to buff my attack or attack the enemy instead of casting a much needed heal spell on me. It has led to some frustrating fights when grinding experience. Unfortunately, this frustration is intentional. The only way to improve Seana’s AI is by upping her Judgement stat.

This isn’t something I’m knocking the game for but it is worth noting: you don’t earn money from fighting enemies. The only way to earn money is by selling items, finding money hidden on the map and by completing chapter bonuses. Now this may not sound like a big deal but you literally can’t access certain chapters until you have enough money saved up. The ultimate saving goal however, is given to you in second chapter two, where Seil convinces a shop keep  to sell him a 1,500,000 fil (money) sword for only 300,000 fil. But he has to get there first. Good luck!

 

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The Sacred Tears True is wonderful game to pick-up. Plain and simple. I have enjoyed my time playing and I am sure you will too. Grab it off of Steam for only $9.99. As an added bonus, if you DO buy the game, I managed to hunt down a digital instruction manual of the game. It clues you in on all the things I wish I knew about Sacred Tears TRUE when I started, such as what Seil’s wanted poster means, how to communicate with party members any time I wanted and more! Find it here! Enjoy!

 

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